Patriarch Bartholomew: Autocephaly of OCU is inspired by the Gospel
Phanar’s decision to grant Ukraine autocephaly was ecclesiologically correct and free from any political or diplomatic pressure.
There are no more splits in Ukraine, because all believers were restored in communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said at a meeting with journalists from Ukraine, which was held at Phanar on Friday, May 31, 2019. The meeting was also attended by the Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Romfea reports.
In his speech, Patriarch Bartholomew noted that the split of Orthodox believers in Ukraine into three parts was a deep wound on the body of the entire Orthodox Church, expressing confidence that the granting of autocephaly would ultimately lead to unity.
“In order to resist the split and promote unity of the Orthodox in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Mother Church of the Ukrainian people gladly responded to the numerous requests of the presidents, political authorities and believers of the country, deciding to finally grant the desired autocephaly,” he said.
The head of the Church of Constantinople stressed that “the correct ecclesiological response given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was based on the eternal tradition of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, with respect for sacred rules and free from any political and diplomatic pressure”.
“This needs to be clarified in the light of misinformation and fakes against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which are distributed on the Internet,” the hierarch added.
According to him, the Ukrainian problem was procrastinated, “i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not suddenly choose to intervene.”
“There was a split that needed to be healed. Our responsibility was to find a solution in accordance with the traditions of the Church. All Letters on autocephaly to the newest Autocephalous Churches, such as in Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Albania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate without consultation or discussion at the pan-Orthodox level. To grant the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the same procedure was applied, whereby church independence was granted to all newly established Churches,” the Patriarch of Constantinople said.
He added that the Ecumenical Patriarchate exercised his right to “restore the grace of unity,” based on the expression of the Apostle Paul, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all,” and “there are no longer any divisions in Ukraine, restored in communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
As for Filaret Denisenko, Patriarch Bartholomew emphasized: Filaret has been restored to his episcopal rank as the former Metropolitan of Kiev and the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” does not exist and has never existed.
“We believe that now, after granting autocephaly, the responsibility of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany, is to lead this historic Church and strengthen the unity of the Ukrainian people,” he remarked.
Patriarch Bartholomew also expressed his conviction that granting autocephaly to the OCU should be considered outside the national interests “as a spiritual cure for spiritual trauma,” and “if someone does not accept this premise, then they will have to think about who exactly breaks unity”.